51 people unaccounted for after apartment block collapse in Miami

Originally published at: 51 people unaccounted for after apartment block collapse in Miami | Boing Boing


Holy Shit. That has to be the worst structural engineering failure in the US in decades!

Wow. Just gobsmacked.


I would very much like to know how and why this happened. Then I would like to see the builders and owners of this failed structure punished to the fullest extent of the law. Of course, we’re talking about Florida, so they will probably receive some sort of “Citizen of the Year” awards.


The early indications are that they were doing some roof work on the building with heavy equipment.

That this Miami building was put up in 1981 (therefore likely being 50% cocaine powder) probably contributed to the disaster, although the authorities are claiming there have been regular inspections of the structure through the years.


I think this may be the biggest unintential collapse in the US ever. The Hyatt Regency walkway collapse was the previous record holder that I can find, and that was in 1981.


So how much of this was Florida’s “All regulations are bad” policy environment and how much was the subsidence from mythical seawater-infiltration induced subsidence?


That collapse looks just like a controlled implosion. The implication is that the load-bearing walls on some floor were simply incapable of supporting the load of the building plus equipment above them. I’m no materials scientist, but that really points to concrete losing its compression rating over the decades, which would be a result of a bad batch when the structure was poured.


Cool, we are going to get the US sequel to the Grenfell Tower fire.

I predict that this apartment block is run by a terrible management company with years of complaints and aggressively bad treatment to their tenants. I have no doubt that the landlord tenant laws in FL are probably really shitty so everything that everything they do is just barely on the side of being legal. Miami will claim that there aren’t funds or the legal framework to actually do anything about failed building inspections, so problems just got hand-waived away. Hell, I think it’s reasonable to guess that there were known problems with the building that could date back to the original construction.

A few people will be fired, some fines will be levied and the property management company will “shut down” in the sense that they will just change their name and ownership structure to avoid getting in more serious trouble.

I would post the video for Taste’s Good With Money by Fat White Family about the Grenfell Tower fire, but it’s probably too soon.


Imagine someone in the part to the right. They had just enough time to think they had been lucky and their part would remain standing when the floor fell away under them.


That one immediately leapt to mind.

And the reason for that was so fucking stupid. Even someone with out an engineering degree could see how that design was fucked.


Knowing that the building was completed in the early 1980’s, it’s doubtful that it collapsed because of structural issues that were baked-in from the start.

From the reports I’ve read, fingers are starting to point at the company doing repairs to the roof and a neighboring newer construction that may have compromised the structural footing of the now collapsed building.

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That is just horrible.


It doesn’t, doesn’t it? The whole building is folded into its outline. There are also several white flashes, though they may be something electrical parting. I wonder whether this was high alumina cement, and the building had a swimming pool. Chlorine can make high alumina cements brittle, and once the stuff gets inside, it can run along the pre-stressed steel members.


This one happened near me in 1973. It led to the creation of Fairfax County’s Special Inspections for Critical Structures program. Wonder if Miami has that level of inspections or does it just fall under government regulations are bad and the market will sort it all out?

You’ll note that 14 workers were killed and no one really got in trouble over it. One company got a $300 fine.


Why is something built in the 1980s immune to having structural issues? What time period would permit this? Cant it have a materials defect and/or an unknown structural defect and/or some sort of deterioration which is then triggered by, say, the presence of heavy equipment?

Some failures could happen at any time, triggered by specific circumstances:

Some failures take years to develop:

When I see a building razed via controlled implosion, I say:
That collapse looks like systemic failure.


Aaron Paul What GIF by Breaking Bad


It won’t matter to the families of the victims, or the little boy who survived, why the building collapsed. Engineering forensic teams will figure out the why later. For now, I’m just hoping a lot of these units aren’t occupied in the summer.


The news said, 51 people aren’t accounted for from the building.

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There is a swimming pool on the ground to one side of the building, according to the photos in the post. None on the roof. I thought of that too, but it’s not borne out here. Of course there’s no telling what other forms of decay the structure had endured in the last 40 years, from leaking pipes or whatever.


That’s a news euphemism normally to be interpreted as “were probably in the building”. :disappointed: